Came home to find an envelope on the mat - with the black & white cover rough for my "Tale of White Winter Hollow", (November 04).
It looks great, especially imagined in its wintry colours cheme, but, oh, it's quite a poignant moment.
You see, all my current and forthcoming "chapter books" now have covers by the same artist, the excellent Klaas Verplancke - but with this title, I've reached the end of the commissioned run. His magnificent white wolf reminds me that I'll soon be facing an empty space, too!
Hmmm! Must get those synopses dusted off . . . But (worried frown, anxious keystrokes!) which one?
Today, Tuesday 30th March, I've finished my run of "Author Visits" for this term! Phew! Don't think I've had one so hectic yet. So a whole lot of thanks to the children and staff of the following primary schools:
Starbeck School, N. Yorks;
Wigginton School, nr York;
St Augustine's RC School, Radford, Coventry;
St Hilda's School, Oldham;
Wedderburn Infants, Harrogate;
Killinghall School, N. Yorks;
Headfield Junior School, Dewsbury;
Thornton-in-Craven School, N. Yorkshire;
Warthill School, nr York;
Kirkby & Great Broughton School, N. Yorks;
Aysgarth School, nr Bedale, N. Yorks;
Chapter House School, Queen Ethelburga's College, N. Yorkshire;
Egton School, N. Yorks;
Woodfield School, Harrogate;
Heathfield Junior School, Rishworth, W. Yorks;
Gunnerside & Melsonby Schools;
Bancrofts School, Woodford Green, Essex;
Headlands School, Haxby, nr York
Embsay School, nr Skipton;
St John's School, Clifton, nr Brighouse, W. Yorks;
Akrigg School, nr Leyburn, N. Yorkshire
and everyone at Highgate School, Cyprus - a visit that'll soon have its own well-deserved posting!
HUGE, HUGE THANKS TO EVERYONE! It was all great fun - particularly in those brilliant schools where the children had heard about or read my books!
GRATEFUL THANKS, TOO, to all those teachers and helpers who so kindly arranged book sales, as well. Authors like me - without big promotion budgets and a zillion other sales complexities - need all the help we can get just to keep our titles out there and viable! You are STARS!
Now, as for next term's visits . . .???? Don't want to think that far ahead yet, but with SATS in the offing, there'll certainly be a quiet patch mid-May.
Who knows, with luck, I'll even get some writing done!
Now, sitting here waiting for the editor to call, to ask "What do I think of the illustrations for The Ghoul of Bodger O'Toole?" Yes, I do have one or two comments, but feel rather awed making any criticism, especially as I know timing's tight, tight, tight!
The more I know about illustrators, the more I admire them. Their deadlines make writer's urgent dates seem luxurious, they are asked to change this and that for all sorts of reasons, and their work gets tweaked on the computer screen just as much as does writer's text, from my experience. And then, after they've worked totally hard at a flurry of images, they run the risk of being seen as "not being as fresh as they used to be!!!" What heroes! (Mind you, I've always been lucky with the illustrators my publishers have selected.
But what do I think about the roughs? I think the pictures are blooming marvellous, and I'm in love with Trevick! Well done, Philip!
Oh yes, forgot to say. . .
So overcome by the excitement of the online journal appearing on the website, that I forgot to say that the actual website will be receiving attention shortly - and urgently!
It's a little out of date. For example, The Tale of Highover Hill was published back in November 2003, and I'm now busy with the third Jonas Jones title, The Tale of White Winter Hollow, for November 2004.
The Ghost of Able Mabel has just got a new cover for World Book Day 2004 - The Spectre of Hairy Hector has to wait until re-publication - then May brings the publication of two more ghostly tales, The Spectre of Hairy Hector and The Ghoul of Bodger O'Toole!
There's two more Franklin Watts titles now - Moo! and Roly-Poly Rice Ball - for younger readers.
And all these will soon be appearing on my website near you - properly! (And this isn't a hint to my website manager either.) Happy Reading!
Wishing everyone lots of great reading today, and any day! Keep those pages a-turning!
Some times there's the grim slog, but on days like I've had recently, life is beautiful. School visits that start with me driving across the Yorkshire moors with the morning sun gilding the snow. . . such an amazing experience!
And a really generous teacher last week who had gone to lots of effort to arrangeto have my books to sell. I cannot say how grateful I felt! Thank you, thank you! This is not an overwhelming greed for my 5%, but because of the curse of the sales figures on one's writing future. 'Spose book sales feel to authors like OFSTED feels to schools!
It must be my good luck month just now - not only a lot of lovely schools, and great children, but an entry in last Sunday's Funday Times.
About a month ago, I wrote the piece in all ignorance ("200 words on a book character you'd like to be" they said) but there I am, tucked next to some real top authors - Michael Morpurgo, Eoin Colfer, Philip Ardagh, and illustrator Axel Sheffler! (Feeling a bit Cinderella like, really - "Hey, what am I doing at this party?" but pleased all the same.)
Bye for now- and wishing everyone Happy Reading for World Book Day this Thursday!